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Phone Dialer \program files\windows nt\dialer.exe

Make voice calls, video calls, and conference calls using a phone line or Internet connection.

To Open

Start Programs Accessories Communications Phone Dialer

Command Prompt dialer


Phone Dialer is a surprisingly complete program, given that most people don’t even know it exists. The primary Phone Dialer window is essentially a contact list, which allows you to initiate a call or conference with one or more people (see Figure 4-74). To place a call, click the Dial button or select Phone Dial; if no contact is selected (from either the Speed Dial folder or from one of the Internet Directories folders), you’ll be prompted to enter the other party’s contact information. Another Phone Dialer user can be contacted in one of the following ways (specified either in the Dial window or when editing a Speed Dial entry):

Figure 4-74. The Phone Dialer is not used to dial your phone, but to initiate voice and video conferences over a network

Phone Call

Choose this option to use your modem to call another user’s modem over standard telephone lines. Naturally, it’s simpler to just pick up the phone and place an old-fashioned phone call; and while Phone Dialer supports video, few analog modems are fast enough to accommodate two-way video communication.

Internet Call

Whether you’re connecting over the Internet or over a local network, choose Internet Call to initiate a call. If you’re connecting over the Internet, enter the other user’s IP address; if you’re connecting over a local network, enter the other user’s computer name (without the \\ prefix).

For the call to go through, the other user must also have Phone Dialer open. When a call is received, the recipient can accept or reject the incoming call.

A conference, as opposed to call, allows you to communicate with several users at once. To start a conference, click New in the toolbar or go to Phone New Conference. Then, other users call you to join the conference.


  • Like Microsoft NetMeeting, discussed earlier in this chapter, Phone Dialer lets you use your computer as a telephone, initiating and conducting voice and video conversations over an Internet connection (or even using standard phone lines, although I fail to see the point). Of the two, NetMeeting has more features and is easier to use, but Phone Dialer is the only one that works over phone lines.

  • The hardware requirements for voice and video calls with Phone Dialer are the same as those with Microsoft NetMeeting. However, NetMeeting and Phone Dialer are not compatible with one another; calls placed with NetMeeting can’t be answered by Phone Dialer, and vice versa.

  • Phone Dialer is nothing like the utility of the same name included in Windows 9x/Me, which was only a telephone autodialer. It is, however, identical to the Phone Dialer included with Windows 2000.

  • Although the main Phone Dialer window looks suspiciously like the Address Book (discussed earlier in this chapter), it does not share contacts or any other information with the Address Book.

See Also

“Microsoft NetMeeting”

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